Indoor air quality: the new priorities


06 July 2022

The majority of people in the UK suffer from issues caused by poor indoor air quality – both at home and work. Thain Gummer of LG Electronics discusses why it is important to take a closer look at the problems we face and the solutions that exist to help improve air quality with HVAC equipment.

We consider being indoors a haven against outdoor air pollution, but this is not always the case. In most instances, pollution from traffic, industry, fossil fuel burning, and pesticides can emit fine particles, CO₂, NOx, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that make their way into our buildings. They exist alongside pollutants from fuel-burning combustion appliances, odours such as those from tobacco products, VOCs produced by building materials and furnishings, products for household cleaning, personal care and hobbies and mould resulting from excess moisture.

Environmental allergens, bacteria and viruses affect 15% of the EU and UK population in a typical year – a figure higher with Covid 19 circulating. The high season for environmental problems is February through to August in the northern hemisphere, whilst hay fever seems to be able to occur all year round with those suffering being allergic to different types of pollen. On top of this, extreme weather conditions add to the issues – with heatwaves causing poor indoor air quality due to ozone and particulate pollution. 

Thain Gummer of LG

Indoor air quality through HVAC equipment

Best practices for operating and maintaining HVAC systems to optimise indoor air quality while reducing risks are more critical than ever before.

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The current global pandemic also focuses on the adverse health effects caused by inadequate ventilation. Research has found that this lower air quality can exacerbate several health conditions, including respiratory diseases and cardiovascular damage, linked to premature mortality worldwide in areas with a higher pollution concentration.
Most HVAC equipment now has an effective sensor measuring PM 1.0 particles. Equipment even has indoor air quality (IAQ) displays as a matter of course, measuring a number of things and in many different ways – IAQ can vary from good to moderate, unhealthy to poor. The quality can be monitored and displayed on the product itself and monitored via an App such as LG's ThinQ. In addition, a traffic light system can provide a colour code of air quality – with colours associated with differing levels making it easier to understand by the end-user.

Pollutant removal technology varies from equipment to equipment.

A five-step process

  1. It starts with the prefiltration of big particles – a multi-layered structure can remove particles up to 2.5 microns and trap large dust particles at the air inlet.
  2. Next, the addition of an allergy filter will remove allergy-causing substances, such as house dust mites helping people who react badly to foreign substances in the air.
  3. Dust electrification increases the electrostatic charge of particles to improve the efficiency of the fine filters in removing dust particles. 
  4. The filtering of ultra-fine particles is the next step, removing 99.9% of PM 0.1 size ultra-fine dust. The PM 1.0 allergy filter removes allergy-causing substances. The Plasmaster Ionizer™ function on some LG units generates over 3 million ions to remove up to 99% of airborne bacteria, like staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It also eliminates foul odours that circulate in the air.
  5. And finally, UVnano introduces UV-C radiation – an effective disinfection process to the situation. The high-energy UV-C radiation destroys the DNA and RNA of the microbes so that they can no longer proliferate, removing bacteria and viruses.

LG has introduced a new and highly effective five filtration step Air Purification Kit for its Multi-Split indoor one way and single split Dual Vane cassette products. It is specifically developed for the indoor units of the air conditioning system and can purify the indoor air, removing particles and VOCs. 

Its UVnano duct filter box has been developed explicitly for the ducted indoor units and can purify the indoor air, removing particles and volatile organic compounds while conditioning it. The multi-process air purification kit, fitted into the indoor unit's air inlet, consists of three technologies in the order of the pre-filter, an ePM1 65% and finally, the UVnano. 

Ventilation and IAQ are areas of activity that will continue to grow in importance and see increasing levels of activity from all companies operating in the sector. LG intends to be at the front of this vital technology as we move forward and contribute to overall wellbeing.